Friends School of Minnesota Blog

A Quaker school blog about progressive education.

Overnight at the Science Museum

Last week, thirty Friends School of Minnesota 4th and 5th graders stayed overnight at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Camp-In. After arriving at the SMM, students donned their green t-shirts and began their exploration of the some of the museum exhibits. Then came supper: a delicious pizza buffet. And then they were off again for another three hours of museum exploring. Students were able to work in the cell lab,.. Read More

Making Meaning Through Experimentation in Art

Experimentation in art class is an important part of learning to use materials. When students make discoveries about the properties of a particular material or tool, the experience becomes a meaningful part of their education. Sure, I could demonstrate how to use a particular tool or material (and I sometimes do), but when the discovery is made independently of me, excitement ensues. This kind of playful inquiry is what makes.. Read More

Our Work on Race and Racism in 5th and 6th Grade Humanities

Over the past month, fellow middle school humanities teacher Melissa Andersen and I have been engaged with the 5th and 6th graders in some challenging, thoughtful work around race and racism in our society. It began with our field trip to the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota, something I recommend that everyone go and see. Before the field trip, we did some preview.. Read More

Dance Residency 2015

Friends School of Minnesota welcomed back Jae Haile Phillips and Hannah Esparza for a dance residency the during the week of October 19-23. Students in kindergarten through 8th grade learned a different social dance each day.  They explored Merengue, Bachata, Salsa, and Hip Hop. Students had the opportunity to work through basic dance moves and practiced incorporating those steps into a more intricate routine by the end of class.  As they grew in their confidence,.. Read More

River Field Trip #2: Climate Change

It was a busy week as Friends School of Minnesota 5th and 6th graders headed out on their second River Trip. We returned to Fort Snelling State Park on Friday, October 30 for a special event organized by the National Park Service, Minnesota State Parks, and Will Steger Foundation (now called the Climate Generation). The topic was climate change and the students participated in the following activities: Introduction to park.. Read More

Feeling Inspired: Reflections From the Progressive Education Network’s National Conference

Middle school humanities teacher, Melissa Andersen, reflects: One of the things I greatly appreciate about teaching at Friends School of Minnesota is the amount of freedom and encouragement I am given to continue my growth professionally and personally. This last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Progressive Education Network’s (PEN) national conference, Access, Equity, and Activism: Teaching the Possible, with fellow FSM teachers, Laura Pereira (art), Andrew Rutledge.. Read More

Big River Journey 2015 – 5th and 6th Grade

Last Friday, Friends School of Minnesota 5th and 6th graders took a trip called “Big River Journey”. This was an extension of the field trips that 6th graders took last year as part of our “River Year.”  We started the day at Fort Snelling State Park doing land-based activities before boarding a riverboat for a science-based afternoon onboard the boat. We ended the day at Harriet Island in downtown St Paul. Activities included: Artifacts Soldier Hike Cultural.. Read More

Wolf Ridge Trip 2015

Each autumn, Friends School of Minnesota 7th and 8th graders head north to spend a week at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota. We do this trip to learn about the natural environment of the area and to build community. Students challenge themselves on the rock wall and outdoor ropes course. They take classes and study streams, wetlands, and geology. At night, they do astronomy and a night hike, led by science.. Read More